Photo by Matt Wendland
Burien council welcomes four new members. . Councilmember Luch Krakowiak was elected mayor.

Four new council members took the oath of office last week at Burien City Hall.

By Eric Mathison

After four new lawmakers were sworn in at the Burien City Council’s first meeting of 2014, 10-year Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak was unanimously selected Monday, Jan. 6 to be Burien’s new mayor.

Councilmember Bob Edgar was picked unanimously as deputy mayor.

Krakowiak was nominated by Edgar who praised her decade of service on the council.

Councilmember Gerald Robison nominated new Councilmember Nancy Tosta,
Robison said Burien voters had spoken very clearly about their desire for council change by voting out the three incumbents who ran for re-election. Former Mayor Brian Bennett declined to run again. Robison said Tosta would represent a “fresh leaf over old divisions.”

However, when it came to vote, both Robison and Tosta, who joked it was difficult to vote against herself, made it unanimous for Krakowiak.

Krakowiak’s election as mayor represents a kind of political resurrection for her. Just three years ago, she often found herself outvoted 6-1 on many council issues.

After the election of 2011, Edgar joined her on the council as an ally and Councilmember Jack Block Jr. began voting with her more often.

The three still found themselves outvoted often by the four other lawmakers. Krakowiak was selected as deputy mayor in January 2013 over Rose Clark at a council meeting where Robison and Councilmember Joan McGilton were absent.

But voter anger over the council’s proposal to annex White Center and the council’s bitter divisions led to the defeat of incumbents Clark, McGilton and Block.

At the Jan. 6 meeting, Krakowiak said she is looking forward to working with her fellow councilmembers as mayor. She said Burien is a great city that can become even better.

The third-term councilmember has lived in Burien since 1988 and owns a massage therapy business located in the city.

Krakowiak serves on the Sound Cities Association Board of Directors, King County Library System Board of Trustees and King County Growth Management Planning Council. 

Burien’s mayor presides over council meetings and represents the city at ceremonial functions.

For the deputy mayor position, Krakowiak nominated Edgar while Robison again nominated Tosta.

Krakowiak cited Edgar’s work behind the scenes on the city’s financial reports, council guidelines and orientation for new council members.

The vote was unanimous for Edgar.

Lawmakers also heard pleas to restore the Burien Annex space damaged by the recent arson fire. The section that was damaged houses performances by Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) and the Hi-Liners.

BAT Managing Director Maggie Larrick said the group realizes that Burien has limited spaces for performances but emphasized that arts and culture activities bring significant economic development to a city.

John Unbehend, Burien Arts president, said long-term solutions are needed but his group hopes the council acts to restore the damaged building.

Interim City Manager Craig Knutson reported the city is working on an option that he said could not be revealed publicly yet.

The council will hold a study session on Jan. 27 to discuss Burien’s community recreation center plan developed in 2008. The plan calls for a new facility at the site at 14501 4th Ave. S.W., possibly funded by a construction bond measure.

In other business Human Resources manager Angie Chaufty reported Burien received 46 applications for its vacant city manager position.

She said the council will meet in an executive session with its consultant on Jan. 23 to whittle the list down to 10-12 semifinalists.

The list would be further refined down to 4-6 finalists with a final decision on a new city manager in March or April.

She added that it has not been determined if there will be a public open house with the finalists or whether staff or community members ill be asked to offer their recommendations on the final choice.

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